Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Ἀπόστολος is a term not much used in Greek literature, meaning “messenger, ambassador, or envoy,” a natural derivation from the verb ἀποστέλλειν, “to send off” (Liddell/Scott, s.v). It occurs only once in the Septuagint (3 Kings 14:6) in the sense of “one sent” with a message. Its 80-fold usage in the New Testament would therefore be somewhat surprising to the initial listeners to and readers of the New Testament doc…

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Dunn (†), James D.G., “Apostle/Disciple”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 25 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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